Dialogue

Paul Tomenko knows about the improbable. A sweepstakes winner and renowned counterculture writer by age 19, he’s traveling to God’s library to preserve eternity. If that wasn’t hard enough, his two lovers must become involved as well. But the trio discovers the job can turn someone’s soul inside out. Literally.

Readers who enjoy science fiction with a humorous and slightly irreverent bent will enjoy this fun tale with a unique take on metaphysics, cosmology, and religion. The universe and characters Felyk has created are thought- and laugh-provoking. The sometimes convoluted and unevenly paced plot might hinder those looking for a fast, easy read.

Review by Lynne Hinkey

A newspaper publisher receives a scandalous proposal from her wealthy ex-boyfriend. Will she accept his proposition and save her family’s business? Constant Craving is an allegory for the newspaper industry, with sexytimes.

Constant Craving is a powerful contemporary romance, not just because of the connection between the couple but the backstory was deep enough that any reader can quickly dive into and connect with.

A recommended novel to those who enjoy contemporary romance with a great balance of steam and depth.

Review by Constant Craving

Valen, an arrogant yet charming wizard prodigy, Brevle, a wise-cracking warrior, Wulard, owns a map (sorry, that’s all he contributes), and Zendra, possessed by a demon, must band together, quiet their pessimism, and will their legs to forge through the Path of Fatality.

Filled with incredible fight scenes, cryptic characters and a few often useless yet lovable characters, this book is worth checking out if you love a good action-packed story and lots of mystery and questions.

Review by To Enter The Path

Lawyers arguing a case on opposite sides disagree on most everything, except the love they both feel for their dogs, a Boston terrier and a Jack Russell terrier. Loneliness and their dogs bring them together in a surprising way on Valentine’s Day.

Love on Trial is a quick light and sweet read about two lawyers and their pups who happen to fall in love.

A recommended read for those who enjoy light, contemporary, and clean romance about puppy love, swallowing your pride and following your pups first love.

Review by Love on Trial

Two comedians go to war over a stolen joke premise.

This “tale of friendship and its discontents” (as the author puts it) may not be for everyone. Fans of comedy, and those that enjoy stories of how relationships can be so strong and so fragile at the same time will enjoy it. At times it was confusing as to which characters were talking or doing the action, but this book has great qualities in the way of plot development and characterization that really hit it out of the park.

Review by Wrecking Balls

Witches are real, they are evil, and Claudia Matthews must fight her way past the temptation of corruption, and weakness to find the answers she seeks for her saving grace. But being bound to the damned means fighting against more temptation than the pull of power.

Malefica is perfect for fans off Melissa de la Cruz and Richelle Mead. An unpredictable and tightly woven plot, along with original world-building, keep this book moving forward at a fast clip.

Review by Katie Rose Guest Pryal

Scheduled for Review on August 27, 2018

Alison Hayes needs to find a path. The chaos that has been her childhood is about to explode and she has to find a way not to repeat the mistakes her mother has made. There has to be a better way to live.


As total war approaches, four lost souls trapped behind Cestia’s walls are on a collision course with fate, destined to either save the city or see it utterly destroyed while calling on forces beyond mankind’s comprehension. For good or ill, the light of a new day is about to dawn.

Light Dawning is dark, unapologetically so. Not just in subject matter, but in tone. A patina of helplessness and hopelessness infuses each page, aided by artful prose and sympathetic characters.

Though filled with magic and monsters, Light Dawning is not about escapism. There are no heroes, only people making hard choices to stay alive. There are no noble sacrifices, only senseless deaths and desperate murders. In short, if you’re looking for jolly dwarves and sarcastic elves, maybe look elsewhere.

However, if strong writing and palpable mood is your thing, by all means settle in.

Light Dawning doesn’t shy away from the grotesque, but I assure you there’s no gore porn fainting-couch shockers here. Ty Arthur uses blunt and graphic imagery in service of crafting his harsh world and immersing you in it. Light Dawning is no horror wannabe, it’s solid fantasy, just painted with a more serious and sombre pallet than many are used to.

I’d say that is perhaps the books weakness as well as its strength. If the relentlessness of Arthur’s world seems a bit heavy going, I sympathise. This is not an isolated battle in a wider fantasy scenario, with hearth and home waiting elsewhere. You are trapped with the characters in a merciless, terrifying siege.

This almost seems a shame at times, as Arthur’s mythos is rich, and could certainly be better explored from a wider variety of view points. However, Arthur sticks to his guns. This is boots-on-the-ground survival, and is too busy navigating the trenches to spend much time looking at the stars.

Dive into this book if you like heroic fantasy, but have a taste for something harder.

Review by Light Dawning

When Megan McConnell discovers a time telephone, she embarks on a high-stakes quest to save her mother’s life by calling her before a deadly bomb blast in Afghanistan. A YA coming-of-age novel about a teenage girl confronting feelings of rejection and abandonment.

The Time Telephone was a short and yet insightful read about love and loss that explores how one might go about changing the past given the opportunity and the need to come to terms with difficult truths about the people we love. It would be suitable for adults and young teens.

Review by The Time Telephone

Scheduled for Review on December 4, 2017

Chloe wants an adventure, but first, it’s bad day after another. She gains two pounds, gets pulled over for littering, forgets the milk twice, and catches her husband cheating. Adventure becomes chaos when Chloe is accused of murder, chased by a hot detective, and tries to avoid Stranger Danger.


Detective Tom Stone chases after a small-time entrepreneur who discovers the price for betrayal when mobsters fight for control of the High Tide Marijuana Dispensary in East Hollywood.

A fast-paced crime thriller which should appeal to fans of the genre, and anyone who likes double-crossing, gun-fights, betrayal, murder and just a little bit of romance. Great dialogue, plenty of twists and turns and enough action and drama to keep you hooked.

Review by Tom Stone: Sweltering Summer Nights

Oliver is biding his time in a soul sucking internship when he accidentally becomes a superhero. If he can survive the endless training sessions, the generic but tight suit, and getting thrown through the occasional wall, he might just have time to stop the bad guy from enslaving the world.

Here’s the great thing about SuperGuy… the premise smells like KickAss and the Greatest American Hero combined, but it’s neither. It  comes out as something better.

The slapstick and violence are actually tastefully minimized. The superhero cliches are handled well with perfectly selected, coordinated lampshades. I can’t stress how well the internal logic of the superhero and government relationships are handled, but then all the relationships are handled super well. Every human interaction is funny but without cost to the internal logic of this universe’s rules. You can believe in everyone in this story.

It’s rare for me to find a novel where the humor is handled so deftly and so consistently. It’s a smooth ride of smirks and chuckles and if there’s a flaw in the story, it might be that there are no big superbelly laugh payoffs. But, it’s not really that type of funny.

I like the romance in the story and I like that it’s soft and not a heavy plot point. I like that the girl he is seeing is a better and stronger superhero than he is. I like that he respects her and that he goes to her for help and (most especially) I like that he does it without whining.

I like that all the women in this book are strong; even if that strength might be getting other people to do their work for them. This is important, because this is a part of the present bureaucratic process; it isn’t women being bitchy. It’s just how offices often work. One woman deftly handles realigning responsibilities with  legit advice and ego buffing and we get to see her internal logic. Another woman is treated as an unreachable  goddess, so she selectively uses that to get men to do her bidding (said bidding is restricted to moving plants and office furniture), but we do not get to see her internal thinking. Beside Roger, there are only two efficient productive office staffers, and they are women… one works for the Mayor (Lily) and one reluctantly works for SuperGuy (Emma). They get their share of humor, too, and none of it at the expense of their personhood.

But mostly, I like Gray Matter, the villain, even if he feels, well gray… he’s almost a generic villain, which might be expected in a foil to a generic hero whose symbol is a bar-code and whose most outstanding feature is a randomly too noticeable crotch. I’m hoping that the next villian is much more colorful and outrageous and breaks all the rules that the author expertly set up.

Will there be a sequel? I assume so. It’s one of the rules.

There is always another issue coming out. I look forward to it.

Review by SuperGuy

The Existence of Pity is a story of flawed characters told with heart and depth against the beautiful backdrop of Colombia. The daughter of missionaries, sixteen-year-old Josie Wales feels torn between their beliefs and the need to choose for herself. But she isn’t the only family member with secrets.

The Existence of Pity will appeal to young adults as well as adults. Well-written and thought provoking, it’s the kind of novel that will have readers thinking about Josie’s dilemmas even after they’ve completed the book. It is rather tame compared to the more strident YA novels out there—no mean girls, teenage promiscuity or intense parties. Readers looking for that kind of enticement won’t find it in this novel. What they will find is a sixteen-year-old’s thoughtful search for her own identity in a conflicting and sometimes hypocritical world.

Review by The Existence of Pity

A phone call in the small hours after midnight lands Dallas PI Ed Earl Burch in a lethal game where nobody can be trusted and everybody wants him dead. That includes the caller, an old flame with a violent temper and a terminal knack for larceny and betrayal.

The Right Wrong Number is filled with the latest and greatest of Nesbitt’s Quentin-Tarantino wit mixed with everything gory, despicable, irreverent, and plenty of sex. Indeed, a great combination of mystery and a plain laugh-out-loud read—guaranteed to be a favorite for noir enthusiasts.

Review by The Right Wrong Number

“this strikes me as a finely crafted story…I rate it as a superior novel and recommend it to anyone who appreciates the challenge of an unflinching mystery. Certainly I was repeatedly surprised.” —Multiple NYT bestseller Piers Anthony

Whether you’re a fan of sci-fi fan, hard-boiled detective stories, or mysteries, this book will appeal to you. Yes, it crosses genre lines, but in such a seamless manner and with such elegant prose, even purists of any one of those genres will be satisfied. But, don’t grab this if you’re looking for a cozy mystery. The violence isn’t gratuitous but some of it is graphic. The superb writing and editing (the few errors stand out because of their paucity), and complex plotting of The Last Detective make it a great read for anyone who enjoys an exciting who-done-it.

Review by The Last Detective

Scheduled for Review on May 29, 2017

A game is only a game if you can stop playing when you want to.


Scheduled for Review on July 3, 2017

After five campers are hacked to death in their sleep in a national park campground, FBI Special Agent Cal Bocock learns nothing is as it seems at Elkmont. Bocock and his companions are pitted against an ancient evil that has been haunting the mist shrouded mountains since colonial days.


Second edition of best selling war novel–incorporates veterans’ comments and new historical information. Young man comes of age during bloody combat and aftermath of war. Accurate history, engaging story, the bad and the good, warm and funny.

Public Information was a highly enjoyable, detailed read on the Korean War. It gives the reader a real sense of what it was like in the war with lovable characters to root for and a great feeling of years gone by. History buffs and fans of war fiction will love this novel, but the war scenes are not very graphic and the novel incorporates enough humor to make it accessible for a wider audience. A very solid, albeit long, read.

Review by Public Information

It’s a dangerous game to love your slave. When your whole species is enslaved – and it’s the humans who are acting like the monsters – how far would you go to free your family?

Light is a British vampire, who has been captured by the ruthless Blood Club, an underground society who deal in vampires, training and selling them as slaves for the rich. Defanged and ‘trained’ into a life of subservience to his new ‘owner’ Grayse, Light feels a long way from the rebel he once was. From the start though, he realises that Grayse, whose father owns the Blood Club, is not like her family her at all. An attraction grows, family bonds are tested, and as Light writes his diary to Grayse, detailing the horrendous abuse he has suffered, the two of them devise a daring plot of rescue and revenge. A shocking and at times uncomfortable read, this dark book leads us deeper into the world of vampires and their enemies, and sets the story up for book three.

Review by Chantelle Atkins

Scheduled for Review on March 27, 2017

Dying ancient inveterate gambler Stanley McCloud places a huge bet that he’ll reach his next birthday … but evil bookie Maggy McCulloch has second thoughts as the big day approaches.


Seventeen-year-old Max suffers agonizing apocalyptic visions. He soon finds the visions weren’t just in his head. There are three others who have shared those same thoughts. Like him, they are something more than human… and they’re all in danger from the government forces hunting them down. As the danger escalates, Max doesn’t know which side to trust. But in the end, his choice will decide the fate of both species.

 

The Enemy Within has everything you’d expect in a YA fiction novel. The central mystery is engaging, the main cast members are endearing and have some funny dialogue, and the main character Max deals with his isolation in a very relatable way. The book is also very tightly written. Every line of dialogue and plot set piece serves a purpose with not an ounce of fluff. All the elements of the book fit well together as well, leaving the reader with a short, but overall very solid read.

But this novel’s greatest strength is also it’s greatest weakness. The Enemy Within has everything YA fiction lovers want, and that’s about it. The book doesn’t innovate in any significant way. While everything is more than competently executed, seasoned YA fiction readers will find themselves spotting genre cliches and tropes on almost every page.

But despite that flaw, The Enemy Within held my interest straight through to the end. While it does nothing new, this book is a fun read, and that’s what counts.

While the opening chapters are practically brimming with teen angst, it dies off soon afterward. Nothing terribly graphic happens and the author writes in a straightforward and descriptive style that should be easy for most readers to keep up with. The Enemy Within would make a great introduction to YA fiction, and please any YA fiction lovers as long as they come in with reasonable expectations.

Review by THE ENEMY WITHIN

Scheduled for Review on March 27, 2017

John Powers, former autonomous operative for Department of Defense undertook orders to terminate a senator believing that the order came directly from the president himself. Now, in Washington, D.C., the Secretary of Defense and D.I.A. agree to take the necessary steps to tie up any unraveling loose ends.


Can a Latina U.S. President reform a corrupt financial system before the system itself destroys her? “An unusually deep plot for a political thriller…An enthralling protagonist at the heart of a gripping tale. A suspenseful–and topical–tale of White House intrigue.” — Kirkus Reviews

Those who regularly read political thrillers or crime thrillers will enjoy this book.

 

Review by The Latina President

Gary is writing what he is convinced will be a best-selling self-help book, despite his own conspicuous lack of success.

Hilarious in its complete embrace of faith-over-substance approach to success and wealth, Gary’s Guide to Life will have readers cringing and laughing at this witty sendup of the Self-Help aisle. If you’re a fan of Dr. Phil types and take your self-help gurus seriously, you might not appreciate this rollicking satire. For everyone else, you’ll want to step in and give Gary a good shake for being so very blind to what’s blatantly obvious to the reader, but you’ll also root for him to succeed at being successful because he is so endearingly naive.

Review by Lynne Hinkey

In rural Depression-era Alabama, 14-year-old Ruby Graves must face poverty, racial barriers, and a pastor bent on her destruction in order to find the faith she needs to unlock a mysterious gift of healing.

Don’t let “Christian novel” stop you from diving into the first book in Jennifer H. Westall’s Healing Ruby series. Yes, the story includes quotes from scripture, references to God, and a whole lot of praying, but these elements are squares in a patchwork quilt of skillfully expressed details that make this historical tale engaging, moving and illuminating.

Westhall has created well-drawn characters and dialogue so natural that it makes the reader feel like an eavesdropper. The plot’s (very) occasional lags are worth overlooking because of the reflective residue it leaves behind, giving Healing Ruby staying power that lingers long after the final chapter ends.

Review by Healing Ruby

There are three people in this affair – and two of them aren’t human… A hidden paranormal London lies beneath our own. Escape into the supernatural world of the Blood Lifers. A rebel, a red-haired devil and a Moon Girl battle to save the world – or tear it apart.

A unique book told from the point of view of a vampire addressing his dying wife, whilst looking back on the drama they’ve left behind. Quirky, amusing, frightening and dark, Rebel Vampires, Volume One offers a brilliant story, with plenty of twists and turns, romance and gore. For anyone who already enjoys vampire or supernatural horror style stories or for anyone who is just looking for something a bit different, a bit edgy, something that will amuse you, frighten you and take you on one hell of a journey into love, death, humanity, and monsters, then I highly recommend this book.

Review by Chantelle Atkins

Scheduled for Review on March 6, 2017

When Gabrielle is invited to her thirty-year high school reunion, she’s confronted with the demons who followed her out of the 70s, when she was Gabbie, Geek Goddess, hoi polloi to The Beautiful Ones. Those demons, though, didn’t turn out to be whom she thought they were. mm. Funny, that…


These stories are about the cliff—the tipping point—the instant we must roll the dice or succumb to the status quo. Burch’s characters face life with courage and humor in a tenacious search for meaning and fulfillment.

A Book of Revelations delivers the voyeuristic aspects of social media sans FOMO (fear of missing out) thanks to Burch’s stellar ability to place a reader inside the characters he’s created. His short stories have an epic feel because of his exquisite use of language and penchant for deftly wielding details. (Prepare to be compelled to reread  details like “her right blinking flashing as she turned left” multiple times.)

Lately, there’s been no shortage of research on the benefits of reading floating around in the “soundbite-osphere,” everything from reduced stress levels and higher happiness quotients to better sleep and elevated empathy. (This inc.com feature rounds up nine of them.) As for the latter, being immersed in the worlds masterfully created by Burch may result in an almost immediate boost in understanding.

The eavesdropping sensation they induce is mesmerizing, and the stream of unexpected revelations are, too.

 

LINK FOR ARTICLE ABOVEL  http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/9-ways-reading-fiction-can-make-you-happier-and-more-creative.html

 

Review by Yvonne Lieblein

The Last Great American Magic reimagines the legend of Tecumseh, a physically gifted warrior, and his twin brother Rattle, a wickedly smart but lazy prophet. Growing up, the boys are rivals, but in adulthood they reconcile to form a confederacy of Native American tribes and fight the advance of settlers.

THE LAST GREAT AMERICAN MAGIC is a worthy read and holds broad appeal for any who enjoy historical or literary fiction, romance and even fantasy. It is a beautifully written, quality novel and worthy of the title TOP PICK.

Review by A post with the ID $staff does not exist.

She lost everything. Everything but the memories of a past she refused to let go of. Now it will take a herd of wild horses to drag her back to life where she’ll learn a valuable lesson from a very unlikely hero.

A timely must read by all! Once you open it, you won’t be able to put it down. Heart wrenching and eye opening, it will make you angry and hopeful at the same time.

Review by Anita Lock

When the worlds of Johnny and Jamaal collide, the catastrophic clash ignites racial conflict not seen since Ferguson. The incident tests the fledgling love of Johnny’s best friend Lucas and his African-American girlfriend Chantal, setting them on a quest for truth and justice in the perverse racial landscape of 2016.

A disturbing yet highly recommended must-read, especially during current troubling times.

Review by Anita Lock

A quiet little mountain town is hiding a big problem. When the townsfolk of Raven’s Peak start acting crazy, Abigail Dressler is called upon to discover the root of the evil affecting people. She uncovers a demonic threat unlike any she’s ever faced and finds herself in a fight just to stay alive.

A unique twist to the demonic realm, paranormal audiences are certainly in for a treat with this first book in a promising new series.

Review by Anita Lock

A sequence of interconnected novellas of dark, Lovecraftian fantasy. Stories of people who find themselves at the borders of reality and discover heroism – or horror.

Flinging a respectful salute to Lovecraftian lore, the novel carefully recreates the poetry of familiar cosmic horror and secret history, and scatters easter eggs about liberally. But Robert DeFrank is no copy cat, and he overlays his stories on Lovecraft’s cherished backgrounds in his own confident, elegant (and to be honest, much more accessible) way. Here is good horror, written well, and for genre afficiandos that alone should be enough to click the purchase button.

The tales of Star Winds at Dusk are anchored around a respect and dedication to building a solid supernatural mythos, providing the cozy depths to lose oneself in that is so necessary to a good horror tale. Though the book is filled with outlandish beasts and no small amount of the occult, Robert DeFrank pulls off that Lovecraftian trick of presenting the inexplicable with academic credulity, and really pervades the sense that a world of the inexplicable lies close by… for those that know how and where to look.

All this talk of H.P Lovecraft may be off-putting to some, but those of you who don’t know their Shoggoth’s from their elbows won’t feel put out. Star Winds at Dusk isn’t a fan fiction, and at the core of the cosmic musings is a solid thread of story filled with intriguing characters. It’s an original twist on time-tested concepts.

I thoroughly enjoyed Star Winds at Dusk. It was pleasingly intriguing, sometimes disturbing and shot through with a quiet dread and tension you’d expect from a seasoned horror writer.

Review by Steve Wetherell

Private Investigator, John Abernathy, must determine if a man in a photo is really Elvis, an obsessed fan, or something more.

This humorous mix-up of Elvis and aliens conspiracy theories has great characters who, despite coming straight from central casting, are perfect in their roles. If you’re looking for realism or a straight-man somewhere in here, you won’t find it. Also, readers who are offended by off-colored or risqué humor might want to pass–graphic (and funny) descriptions of John’s detective work chasing cheating husbands and some Elvis artwork might be more than they can handle. But, if bawdy humor and over-the-top situations are up your alley, this will make you chuckle and keep you turning the pages.

Review by Lynne Hinkey

Robert has Asperger’s Syndrome and endures a myriad of awkward moments in his quest to meet a nice, normal girl.

Stim was a delightful, insightful, and often funny read that pulls at the reader’s heart. It will appeal to those interested in Asperger’s Syndrome and those just wanting to understand the myriad of challenges and unique experiences associated with being different. Highly recommended!

Review by Stim

Imagine the perfect hero: handsome, tall, courageous, loves his father. Meet Prince Dietrich, the exact opposite.

This isn’t the first review to compare The Amazing Adventures of Dashing Prince Dietrich with watching a train wreck and won’t be the last. There’s something fascinating in an embarrassing way about not being able to pull away from a story with such despicable characters. The writing is excellent and Ljubuncic keeps the reader walking a tightrope between wanting the “dashing prince” to succeed and wanting him to get his comeuppance. The author’s ability to keep the reader turning the pages despite so few not- despicable characters, is truly a feat to behold.

Review by Lynne Hinkey

Scheduled for Review on December 26, 2016

A preteen discovers she’s a witch when a fight with a school rival turns both magical and nearly fatal.


Julia MacAllistair, a young singer, had always believed in the power of music. But she never imagined that music could literally take her places–that is until she played the music in the box. Will Julia ever see her home again? Can she return from her Song Journey?

The Song Journey is a beautiful and intriguing story of time travel, love, loss and family, with an invigorating backdrop of social history and music. Singer Julia MacAllistair receives a unique gift from her great-grandmother Etty before she dies. Five sheets of music which are able to transport her back in time. Five adventures await her, where she will meet members of her own family, and face danger in war torn Vietnam, as well as true love in 1940’s New Zealand. A beautifully evocative and visual book about the power of music, with a wonderfully strong narrative voice and characters to remember. Readers who enjoy romance, adventure and historical novels will enjoy this book immensely. 

Review by Chantelle Atkins

Scheduled for Review on March 20, 2017

The last train. A father’s anxious wait. A desperate search for his missing daughter. A London nightclub . Bloq.


The same rare brain cancer that nearly killed Tarpon Springs celebrity-in-residence Jonathan Christakos years ago is back to finish the job now that he’s on the wrong side of 40. How Jon navigates his last six months is anyone’s guess, but everyone knows that he’s long overdue a miracle.

Patterson’s captivating story draws readers into the fascinating Tarpon Springs. Aside of the factual aspects of this historic place, Patterson does a stellar job keeping his plot light by incorporating fantasy and spirituality to a topic that can be considered rather dismal—dealing with terminal illness and imminent death. A great mix of fact and fiction that is laced with hope and love, Epiphany Man is a perfect read for those looking for a fresh approach to fantasy literature.

Review by Anita Lock

She wants love, he wants the gold medal. The lines between love and obsession are blurred in this blend of dark romance and psychological thriller that combines the heat of Fifty Shades of Grey, the twists of Gone Girl, and the warped reality of Black Swan.

Rising romance author Lauren Rico spins a gripping tale of loss, love, and lies in book one of the Reverie series. A true storyteller, Rico grabs the attention of her audience from the get-go. Twisty and tantalizing, Reverie is bound to be a favorite among romance buffs with a love for classical music.

Review by Reverie

Ed Earl Burch is an ex-Dallas homicide detective tormented by memories of a dead partner and a killer snuffed before Burch could track him down. He’s a burnout, living drink by drink. Then Carla Sue Cantrell points a Colt 1911 at him and says the killer is still alive.

The first book in the Ed Earl Burch series, The Last Second Chance isn’t for everyone. Audiences who get a thrill out of Quentin Tarentino’s flicks will no doubt find Nesbitt’s plot captivating from beginning to end.

Review by Anita Lock

Paco Jones is a half-Mexican kid, newly transferred to a private school where he’s called ‘Taco’ and ridiculed daily. So when he falls for Naomi, a beautiful classmate, what hope is there? Through dumb luck and some clever moves, Paco soon finds himself center stage amidst a middle school mess.

The Improbable Rise of Paco Jones is for readers who enjoy coming-of-age novels where the outcast rises up against all odds. Biracial teens should especially identify with this book. Carrillo even dedicates the book to them: “To the bicultural or biracial kids out there who have gone through the pain and confusion—along with the curiosity and beauty—of navigating the world and their identities without ever fitting neatly into one category.” In truth, all teens, no matter what their identity may be, will find valuable lessons in Carrillo’s charming little novel.

Review by Candi Sary

Scheduled for Review on April 17, 2017

Don’t stand out. Blend in. Remain invisible. These are the rules for survival in Wynter Reeves’ world. But when circumstances beyond her control put her in the spotlight, her worst nightmare becomes reality.


“The Shining” meets “House of Leaves.” A horror movie fan discovers a box of pictures buried in his basement that lets him spy on his friends.

Lurk is a fresh and clever horror with a well-written cast of memorable characters. With a measured balance of mystery, suspense and reality bending horror, fans of the genre will find themselves breezing through this book in one or two sittings. It’s a real page turner, relying as much on the psychologically disturbing as its moments of grotesque imagery and supernatural creep.

Certain parts recall a young Stephen King, and the use of an unreliable narrator being influenced by the restless dead may ring familiar to fans of The Shining. However, good horror is often in the telling, and Adam Vine tells a fine tale. His depiction of Drew, from whose perspective the events unfurl, is particularly note worthy. Struggling to find his place, Drew is a study on the social outsider in the millennial age, a young man who tries to find solace in youthful crutches as his friends grow up around him, trapping him in a cycle of bitterness and frustration.

Lurk is at its surface a good horror with some genuinely disturbing scenes. But it is the depth of characterisation that sets it apart from its peers. While the cast at first appear to be typical teenage horror fodder, they each reveal wisdom, cynicism and an almost tragic self-awareness of how little, and how much, their formative years actually matter. Lurk is an exploration of youth, friendship and coming of age, wrapped in an eerie, sometimes brutal, horror story.

 

Review by Steve Wetherell

Welcome to SPERO HEIGHTS… a little town where supernaturals who have lost their bump in the night go to recover. Tucked in the wooded Ozark Mountains, the humans are rarely cause for concern, but the citizens of Spero Heights have enough past to go around.

A strong paranormal page-turner, perfect for a weekend read. The start of a series, but ends without a cliffhanger. Look for more from this author.

Review by A post with the ID $staff does not exist.

A usurper razes a nation searching for a missing queen. A city witch fights for her life against the necromancer holding her prisoner. And a faraway village refuses to yield to the threat of destruction, with devastating consequences. Will anyone be able to pull Prenitia from this darkest of times?

With a compelling cast of characters, each with believable motivations, the story feels grounded- less like a fairy tale than one might expect given the genre and backdrop. For fans of softer heroic fantasy, with emphasis on the dramatic rather than the fantastic, Prenitia: The Fate of Vultures is a satisfying tale with well drawn characters and fun dialogue. It’s well suited for readers of all ages, and will probably be most at home with a YA audience.

Review by Steve Wetherell

Nichole is struggling to deal with keeping her family together and taking care of her young siblings. Richard is trying to decide what is important in his life after making many mistakes. Can they overcome and get a second chance?

This book is a good read, and anyone who enjoys a contemporary storyline with modern issues, such as prejudice, addiction and social inequality will enjoy the themes and ideas examined here. It is also driven nicely by the well rounded characters.

Review by Chantelle Atkins

A young but veteran recon pilot in WW2 finds the fate of the greatest invasion in history—and the life of the nurse he loves—resting perilously on his shoulders.

With this book, Grasso firmly establishes credibility as an alternative-history and action-adventure writer. East Wind Returns vaguely echoes Harry Turtledove’s alternative fiction novels, but unlike Turtledove, Grasso never slows down and never bores the reader. While his research and technicals are impeccable, Grasso doesn’t bog you down in excessive detail. It’s this pacing that gives East Wind Returns its breakneck speed. Not only does this book move quickly, but it has a high degree of quality in its characters and plot presentation.

Review by Brian L. Braden

When Hollywood agent Buddy Price dies, he discovers God plans on pulling the plug on everyone if we can’t learn to get along. Buddy convinces God to let him fix things and gets a second chance, but he’s probably the last person we’d want to depend on.

This is a great read for anyone, and especially those who enjoy a great send up of pretty much everything. If you’re serious about your religion, or get offended by cartoon-like characterizations of your deity, you might want to steer clear of this since believers, get the same dose of skepticism and satire as the nonbelievers, and God wanders through the kitchen in a plaid bathrobe.

Review by Lynne Hinkey

Help isn’t always the easiest thing to give, and it can be even more difficult to accept…

Cole’s human-interest story is definitely not a light read. Focusing on one man’s dysfunctional life and family, Cole’s plot presents life in the raw. Weaving in constant tension resulting from a lifetime of strife, readers may capture an overriding dystopian ambiance to Cole’s plot—and rightfully so since aging has its difficulties. Although well written and highly thought provoking, Ripples Through Time will not appeal to all, especially those who are faint of heart.

Review by Anita Lock

It’s 1854 in the American West and Didier Rain – rogue, poet, and would-be entrepreneur – is hired by The Church of the Restructured Truth to deliver a child-bride to the sect’s prophet across a frontier fraught with perils, comedy, and carnal temptations.

Kindall pulls out all the terminology stops in his latest read. Although a fascinating read laced with allegory and human interest, Delivering Virtue’s highest appeal will be toward seasoned readers, especially English literature aficionados. Others may enjoy the tongue-in-cheek comments, but miss nuances of European literary legends.

Review by Anita Lock

A Mormon missionary, Jared Baserman, goes insane on his mission. Interests both virtuous and malevolent cozy up to Jared to make use of his “gifting.” But why in the hell would God choose someone as slope-shouldered as Jared—someone so unreligious, so strange? Is Jared really touched by God?

John Draper’s irreverent approach to spirituality is nothing less than downright refreshing. His unique debut maintains a nice balance between the holy and the profane from beginning to end. Offering his audience an intriguing and provocative read, A Danger to God Himself is perfect for those who appreciate reading about hypocrisy in organized religion while at the same time are doing a bit of soul searching. Comes highly recommended!!

Review by A Danger to God Himself

Alaana’s Way: The Calling is an epic fantasy with a unique arctic setting. Surrounding the story of Alaana who must go through the process to become the new Shaman for her tribe.

I can say so many great things about this novel, from the dialogue to the sweeping scenery to its solid editing. While I think Altabef succeeded bringing this ambitious vision to life, there were a few minor issues. Sometimes the switch between settings could be a bit jolting and confusing. Also, he often switched character perspectives from paragraph to paragraph, making the blending of the spiritual/physical characters difficult to sort out.  It tended to slow down in a few places, too. While Alaana’s interactions with her family, tribe and spirit creatures were fascinating (and well written), about halfway through the book I wanted the overarching conflict to reveal itself more clearly and the story to progress.

This cross-cultural fantasy epic may not be for everyone, but THE CALLING is my kind of book. Original in both scope and execution, I highly recommend it.

Review by A post with the ID $staff does not exist.

Rhidauna by Paul E. Horsman is a compelling and fast paced fantasy story that takes you on a thrilling, action packed horseback adventure across a country filled with powerful magic, greed and treachery.

For lovers of epic fantasy and sword and sorcery, Rhidauna is an enjoyable read with great world building and lots of adventure reminiscent of the Belgariad by David Eddings. Well-written and plotted, it delivers what readers of the genre would expect and keeps the reader turning the pages. For lovers of epic epic fantasy, Rhidauna might be a bit short, but overall a very good start to a series. Recommended.

Review by Jennifer Ellis

DEVELOPING MINDS: AN AMERICAN GHOST STORY follows a group of recent college graduates who struggle with feelings of alienation and their addictions as they try to survive a year of teaching at two dysfunctional Miami public schools.

Anyone who enjoys realistic fiction, with a gritty edge will enjoy this novel. The characters are extremely well written and believable, and the dialogue is perfect. Despite the serious matter, the book is also very humorous, visual and vibrant to read.

Review by Chantelle Atkins

Can love sustain light when the forces of evil close in? Paris, 1939-1942. A fallen angel is trapped in the web of German occupation. The deadly noose of Nazi control grows ever tighter, ensnaring her and two of her lovers.

The book is beautifully written. The history is magnificent, and if you want to learn about occupied Paris from the perspective of persecuted Jewish families and Resistance fighters, this book is a fun way to do so. 

Review by A post with the ID $staff does not exist.

Stumpy McCabe is forced back into the deceitful world of prize fighting to save his family and to chase away the nightmare that has tormented him for decades. Navigate through Trenton, NJ’s crime-infested backstreets and alleys with Stumpy as he obsessively defends the integrity and honor of his legacy.

With Strings Attached is for readers interested in a crime novel with likable characters, vivid descriptions and a close look at the underworld. Though a bit slow-paced with its detailed writing, there are still plenty of reasons to enjoy this street-smart, Jersey novel.

Review by Candi Sary

Molly Peterson is a frazzled mother of two who is recruited by a super spy agency to infiltrate the PTA at her son’s elementary school. This book is a send up of motherhood, the PTA, comic books and spy novels. Its underlying message: life is better when you have superpowers.

This is a fun, fast read filled with enough gadgets and wisecracks to satisfy fans of “Get Smart” type thriller-spoofs.  Readers looking for well-crafted mystery with depth, plausibility, and edge-of-your-seat excitement might want to look elsewhere. Despite swinging from predictable (the villain) and implausible (the solution), Codename Cupcake is well-written and filled with plenty of humor, making it a good choice when looking for a lightweight diversion.

Review by Lynne Hinkey

Strikingly relevant, brutally honest, politically incorrect look at 12-year old Glen Feigman’s experience with integration in 1970. Events at school lead to a violent shaking of his liberal Jewish suburban family’s foundations. Adding to Glen’s misery, he fears he is gay. Poignant yet often funny, and definitely thought-provoking.

Glen Shuld offers readers plenty of food for thought in his fictional memoir. Shuld incorporates topics on racism, inequality, minority issues and gender. Baby boomers will especially relate to the nuances he describes of the 1960s and 1970s. The Color of Character comes highly recommend—indeed, a wonderful and riveting read!

Review by The Color of Character

Thomas wakes up in a blood-drenched basement room, with no memory of how or why he got there. Spencer has the answers, and now he must train Thomas to follow the rules of being a vampire. Can Thomas to master his new powers, before he’s turned from predator into prey?

Cooke has a deft hand with realistic dialogue that serves her well here. Her most graphic scenes are slightly spartan in their description; side stepping any concerns of a gore fest. In fact, the most violent scenes are tastefully skipped over right to their blood drenched aftermath. Occasionally, she may linger over a throat closing scene or two. But some of us do find trying not to choke a bit sexy. *cough*

I found the characters more than a bit compelling. I might have liked to have gotten more into the head of William as I find some of his “growth” in the course of the story a bit suspect. It’s also more August and Spencer’s story than Thomas’, the catalyst of the tale. But then, I think Cooke would have slipped more away from horror and into dark urban fantasy if she’d given us that.

I recommend this book for horror fans who don’t need the full CSI checklist in the aftermath of a kill and for dark urban fantasy fans looking for something with real emotions and not YA level romance.

Review by Teeth

Following a series of bad judgements, Nicolas Keszthelyi finds himself alone and pursued by the police in the depths of the French countryside. In a final attempt to secure his freedom, he writes to the police and lays out his side of the story…

People Like Us is an intelligent (in some places brilliant), well-written and entertaining novel. It reads like a cold white wine, not sweet but dry enough to make you pucker your lips in anticipation of the next sip. Perhaps it might go well with courgettes.

Review by A post with the ID $staff does not exist.

An alcoholic mall Santa and a coke-dealing stripper get tangled up with a fairy-worshiping suicide cult. The Atheist’s Prayer is a dark comedy about religious beliefs (or lack thereof), which follows an eclectic group of people as their lives and religious beliefs are shaped by a tragic event.